Dance 'Grinding' Grinds to a Halt at Geneva High School

School officials have banned back-to-front dancing, starting with Friday's Black Light Dance, to keep sexually explicit moves off the dance floor.

On Friday night, students attending Geneva High School’s Black Light Dance will laugh, chat and listen to lots of loud music. They might even show off their moves on the dance floor.

But they will not “grind” with their dance partners, according to new rules set down by school administrators.

“We are not allowing back-to-front dancing anymore,” said Principal Tom Rogers. “We understand that this type of dancing is popular in the clubs, but Geneva High School is not a club, and we’re not going to create a club atmosphere at our dances.”

In a letter sent to parents Monday, Rogers defined “grinding” as a “sexually explicit” dance in which one partner stands behind the other while both are facing the same direction. The rear partner grasps the front partner by the hips or midsection and rubs his or her groin against the front partner’s backside. Sometimes the front partner bends over with his or her hands on the knees or floor, making the dance more sexually suggestive.

“Some students, when they dance back to front, don’t dance in a sexually suggestive manner. But in terms of enforcement, determining which couples are dancing back to front in an acceptable manner would become subjective. That’s why we’re not allowing any back-to-front dancing at all,” Rogers explained.

Officials also will start censoring disc jockeys’ play lists to remove bass-heavy music that encourages “grinding," he added.

Starting with Friday’s dance, all students attending a school dance will receive a wristband when they arrive. A chaperone or school administrator who sees students dancing inappropriately may remove students’ wristbands as an official warning. Students who are caught dancing unsafely or inappropriately after their wristbands have been removed can be banned from that dance and from all future GHS dances. Administrators will notify parents if their students have been kicked out of a dance.

If a large number of students are disobeying the new rules, administrators will stop the music and pause the dance. If students continue to dance inappropriately once the dance resumes, administrators can end the dance early.

Administrators drew up the new rules after students, parents and chaperones complained that dancers “grinding” disturbed them, Rogers said.

“Since we sent the letters out, we’ve received a number of e-mails and phone calls from parents thanking us for taking this stance,” he observed. “We’ve also received suggestions from students to hold themed dances and even offer dance instruction in styles like swing. I know that some students are upset with us, but I believe the majority agree with this action.”

Sandy Klimowski February 15, 2011 at 11:46 AM
The high school years are a learning experience for everyone, not just book learning, but social acceptbility learning. These young adults have learned a lot. Those that stood up for themselves and faced the issue forcing the new school policy learned that their voices do count. Those that are against the policy, and those that grind, learned that they are held accountable to socially acceptable behavior. I say congratulations to those who stood up and forced the issue. I'm sure they made the dance more enjoyable for everyone who was there.
Rick Nagel February 16, 2011 at 07:35 PM
Help, readers! Someone sent me a tip saying Geneva's "no grinding" policy was mentioned last night on "Chelsea Lately: TV show. My daughter even asked me: "Dad, did you have anything to do with this?" I did not, of course. Please let me know if you've heard anything about that. Apparently, the story is getting a lot of national attention.
Laura Rush February 16, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Not only was it on Chelsea Lately, but WGN Radio had a discussion yesterday with John Williams about it. I had to call in since I was there (doing coatcheck) and promote how great the no grinding dance was. All the kids there seemed to be having a great time. Even my husband, who is in MI this week, heard it on the Laura Ingram show (a nationally syndicated radio show) Tom Rogers was a guest on the show. I think it is positive PR for Geneva as a town that took a stance on this!
Kimberly Kozar February 16, 2011 at 09:04 PM
I think it's just great that we are even having the conversation. It's about time we start to communicate about these sensitive issues rather than just bury our heads in the sand and leave our kids to feel their way around these expectations at a time they are shaping their values. I still love to dance and when I was in high school, we had a community teen center that offered dancing every Friday night. There were rules that were clearly established and expected to be followed which made for a safe place with predictable structure. In my opinion, there is no upside to public display of dirty dancing like that we see in the form of "grinding" at this age level. I could be wrong, but I can't see what will be lost if those in favor of this "free expression" have to refrain. I agree, most of our kids would turn ten shades of red if we "expressed ourselves" this way, and there would be a relentless verbal plea to stop. I hear it even now if I begin to skip down the sidewalk or dare sing out loud which all really is quite harmless (ok, maybe that's all a matter of opinion if it actually causes pain - LOL).
Michelle Gregory February 19, 2011 at 06:37 PM
As a parent of young children, I am so thankful for the school's previous action towards some of the sexual behaviors that have been seen at the school dances. Sometimes it seems as though our society thinks that kids of this age are old enough to make grown-up decisions about how they act and behave without any adult retrictions and that is simply not true. Research has shown that the human brain is not fully developed until around age 22-23 yrs.. These kids are still kids that need adults who are both reasonable and have the courage to guide them through these fun and challenging high school years. It is really great to see a public school that cares enough about our kids to do the "bad guy" job of setting limits on unacceptable behavior even if it means making some people upset. On a side note, there are so many great kids that are apparently happy about this restriction. All of these kids will get the chance to become an adult someday and enjoy life to the fullest. Then they will get the wonderful opportunity to determine acceptable and healthy limits for the kids of their upcoming generation:) Thanks again to Geneva High School. My deepest appreciation, Mother from Geneva


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